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CategoryEmbody

A home for nonfiction prose about the grueling, exhilarating, essential business of finding peace (or not) with the bodies we inhabit, considering age, sexuality, race, ability, gender identity, size, athleticism, addiction, illness, and the experience of occupying unfamiliar, hostile, and wonderful spaces.

 

Cloud-to-Ground

The thunder says, I’m here for you. I’m here with you. You are not alone. Don’t be afraid. I was wakeboarding last summer. When I say I was wakeboarding what I really mean is I was pulling myself upright once or twice, but mainly crashing gloriously into the lake. It …

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Magical Realism

One New York winter day, three separate women on three separate occasions asked where I was from. The first was a Black woman, a receptionist at the NYU dental clinic. We’d always had pleasant exchanges. That day, she complimented me on my hair. It was the longest it had ever …

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Unbridled

They call me “horse-girl” at recess. “Thank you,” I say, and gallop away on my wrong two feet. The wind in my mane, I imagine how my arms would move if they too reached for the ground, hooves instead of toenails cutting into the loam as I leap over a …

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Removing the Noose

My father had borderline personality disorder. That meant a lot of things, but mostly it meant that he couldn’t stand to be alone. My father had intercoms around the house. Silver boxes that he set next to the bathroom toilet, on the countertop, and next to the kitchen faucet. He …

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The Incident with the White Sneakers

My brand-new sneakers are white and radiant. My mother bought them a few days ago, and this is the first time I get to wear them. (I have come to refer to the events that surrounded them as “The Incident with the White Sneakers.”)   The man said to meet him …

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Scarred

The pop from my ankle cracked like a gunshot—audible to everyone but me. The music abruptly silenced. In that frozen instant, hovering on one leg (for once not trying to hold my balance, just miraculously stable) and looking down at my slightly raised foot, a crystal clear voice punctured the …

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You Can Stop Now

The year 2009 took more than it gave. In a season of financial earthquakes and drought, I stood in front of ATMs, staring at a negative balance. After community college, I had three jobs and no chance at a university. Student loans seemed like a reality for people who had …

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Hideous

“Take this baby back! Check again! Find the one which looks like me!” My mother waved meticulously manicured hands, dismissing me like an unwanted shrimp cocktail. The story played for hilarity, and I always laughed along. My mother, a single parent for almost a year at this point, presided nightly …

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Extreme Heat

A sweat-soaked man in the gym’s sauna explains why he frequents one local neighborhood over the others. “It’s where I go for young pussy,” he says to the older guys, gawking through the dry heat and then turning his gaze to me. “And I bet that’s easy for you, kid.”  …

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The Verrazano Bridge Has a Way of Looming

The Verrazano Bridge comes at me in waves from the back seat of my parents’ car. Thick metal cables rise higher and higher until they stretch above my line of vision with the first tower, impossibly high. Then the cables dip lower and rise higher again. Inside the car, in …

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